We moved into our row house in Brooklyn a year ago. The very night after we moved in, we met the neighbor across the street — let’s call him Buck. We met him not because he came over to our side of things, but because he established what has become a pattern for many nights:
1) Leaving his front door standing wide open.
2) Hanging out on his front porch or in the doorway (shirtless about 85% of the time).
3) Playing music at significant volume (sometimes Britney, sometimes Israeli).
4) Speaking. LOUDLY. (Loudly enough that the first time we heard him we thought there was an argument — it turns out this is his normal speaking voice, perhaps somewhat amplified by the music volume.)
5) Often with up to six others.
6) For hours at a time.
7) Sometimes with his three gigantic dogs, whom he seems to train by literally yelling at them.
Mix and match; this happens pretty much every evening and some afternoons when the weather is anything other than brutal.
Now: America! That means he’s got a right to be on his porch, being noisy, having his door open and playing with his dogs. I get that. I get that I sound a little snooty here. But he is literally the only person on the block who does it, and he is literally the guy directly across the (single lane) street from us. He doesn’t go until all hours (though on weeknights it can go until 11 p.m.) and there’s not a “disturbance” factor that would warrant calling in authorities.
Meanwhile, my husband is particularly sensitive to noise — it rattles him in a way that it doesn’t rattle me. I do dislike, when I’m working in my office, not being able, because of Buck’s music, to have open my windows that face the street, but I put on a white noise app and I’m OK. My husband, who grew up in a more suburban environment, really finds this gets on his very last nerve, which means it bothers me as well.
But: I’ve been concerned about how, or if, to approach it. On the one hand, I don’t think the guy is evil: when our dog got out, he grabbed her out of the street. On the other hand, he flew a Trump flag during the campaign, which put me on high alert. I worry that if we say anything, we risk escalating the problem — or at least alerting him that he’s got our number. So what do you think is the best way to handle it? Or should we just suck it up and count it as life in the big city?
Any thoughts are welcome, and thanks. — Everybody Needs Good Neighbors
Honestly, I would probably move. Because what’s the best case scenario here? You tell the guy his loud music, gigantic dogs, and shirtless torso are cramping your style, and suddenly he closes his door and turns his music down? Not gonna happen. I think your concern about escalating his behavior is valid. Especially if the guy’s a Trump supporter. We know Trump supporters aren’t exactly fans of diplomacy, and many of them seem eager to fight. I could see someone like your neighbor getting pissed that you’d move into HIS neighborhood and then try to tell him how to live. And who knows what payback for such assertion might look like. The guy’s got three gigantic dogs. They probably take pretty gigantic dumps…
That’s not to suggest you shouldn’t say anything to the neighbor, but I would be prepared to move pretty quickly if your request is met with resistance. You need to be specific and reasonable about your request (like, say, asking that music be turned down by 8 p.m. on weeknights), and have in place a plan for moving in case you need to get out of Dodge quickly. Maybe moving to the ‘burbs isn’t such a bad idea? But if you decide to stay in the city, I’d vet your neighbors and neighborhood very well (and I say this as a New Yorker who knows the drill). Stop people on the street or talk to people sitting on their stoops and porches. Ask what the noise is like (especially in the summer). Is there a neighbor people have problems with? Does that neighbor live close to your potential new place? What’s the traffic noise like? Are there bars or restaurants on the block? If so, visit the block when those establishments are busiest and see what the noise is like on the street.
A couple months ago, when we found a place we really liked, we rang the neighbors’ doorbells to ask about noise; one of the neighbors invited us into his home and answered lots of questions for us. (He told us our potential downstairs neighbor was crazy and also had a big, loud dog.) I also posted on the neighborhood Facebook page and asked if anyone lived in the building or nearby and could answer questions about noise. I met one neighbor for ice cream, and she told me that they didn’t realize how noisy the block was until the day after they closed on their condo seven years earlier. The noise had not gotten better in that time.
When you decide to live in a big city like New York, you have to accept that there are certain risks: seeing rats on the subway, getting bed bugs, having really loud neighbors (and, friends, all this can be yours, too, for the low price of $3700 a month for a modest 3-bedroom). Fortunately, living in a big city means you’re often spared the reality of Trump flags waving proudly in the breeze (unless you live somewhere like Bay Ridge or Staten Island). If you have to deal with some of the pitfalls of city-living AND the discomfort of having a Trump supporter as a neighbor, maybe moving really is your best bet. I’ve heard good things about Montclair…
I’m so much better now, and I’m finally happy with myself. I’m now happier than I was before! I’ve always missed him, but recently he’s come back into my life in a greater capacity. Since the breakup I have tried moving on, I’ve met multiple new guys, and I’ve talked to a few others, but none of these efforts have panned out. It’s always me that stops things progressing, because these other guys just aren’t Charlie. When I’ve been with these other guys, I still think about Charlie and I still want him.
Charlie’s been in a new relationship now for about nine months, and he’s told others that he still can’t get over me and that he’s unhappy in his relationship a lot, so what do I do? I’d feel horrible if I hurt anyone over this, and I really don’t know what to do. The only thing I know (as cliché as this is going to sound) is that our story isn’t over.
What should I do, Wendy? Am I wrong to still want him? How would you cope with this situation? — Story-Teller
I’d be direct and simple with him: “It’s been two-and-half years since we broke up and I’m in a completely different place now, mentally. I still have feelings for you, and, while I know you’re in a relationship now, I’m wondering if you still have have feelings for me and whether you’d be interested in giving our relationship another try?” You do risk your ex’s girlfriend getting hurt, which you say you don’t want, but look at it this way: If your ex does still have feelings for you and would be interested in getting back together with you, his girlfriend isn’t the right match for him and would get hurt eventually anyway.
If your ex isn’t interested in reuniting with you, it’s better you find out right away and move on already rather than spend any more time romanticizing what you had or what you think you could have. You say that your story isn’t over yet, but that doesn’t mean it has a happy ending or that it’s a story worth continuing. Maybe it is! But I’d also venture to say that not letting go of this story for the last couple of years could be a big reason why you haven’t found a deeper connection with anyone else yet (that, and you were also focused on stabilizing your mental health, which, of course, is a bigger priority).
You say that you’ve always stopped things from progressing with others guys because they aren’t Charlie. What if it turns out Charlie actually isn’t “It”? And what if, instead of ending things with other guys, you let relationships grow? You might find that the happier story lies elsewhere. But if you need to see whether the Charlie chapter is truly over before you can move on, do it — ask him and then move on (whether it’s with him or without). But remember that he does have a girlfriend and, regardless of what you’ve heard about their relationship, she has feelings–feelings that will likely be hurt by your pursuing her boyfriend.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
Ashley July 5, 2017, 8:54 am
My neighbors (living the burbs here) have super yappy dogs. They let them out one morning I guess to do their thing at like 6:30 am and they would not. Shut. Up. Me using “it’s too damn early for this sh** logic opened my bedroom window and yelled shuddduuppp as loud as I could. The dogs were brought inside. In my case, it was obviously me who shouted…in a busy New York neighborhood I imagine it’d be harder to point a finger.
wobster109 July 5, 2017, 9:02 am
I may be overly optimistic, but I think you could reasonably make friends with Buck. He cares about dogs, so that’s something you can start off chatting about. Maybe you could bring over cookies. Then later, after you two are on good terms, you can ask him to please keep the music down during work hours because your husband needs quiet to focus. It helps if you phrase it as “this is what we need”, not as “you’re wrong because X”. I’ve found that most nice people are willing to accommodate someone else’s needs, but even nice people bristle at being told they’re doing something rude or wrong.
I hope we won’t segregate ourselves politically, but that we can instead live in diverse neighborhoods. Buck won’t see how Trump hurts real people if all he has is other Trump supporters as neighbors.
Ele4phant July 5, 2017, 9:34 am
I dunno aside from the noise, what about how buck lives is an impact on your life, and how much is it of you being put off by the trump stuff?
You deal with the noise the way you would with any other neighbor, you ask him politely and specifically to turn it down, and you live with a certain amount of it because you live in a city.
And just because he’s loud and likes trump doesn’t mean hes going to berate you if you approach him nicely. I mean he saved your dog right? So if you treat him with respect he may give you the same.
You don’t have to like his political leanings but be honest with yourself about how much your letting that color your reaction – if he was a hipster instead making noise, what would you do? Do that.
Ele4phant July 5, 2017, 9:39 am
Basically we can’t ask trump supporters to be inclusive and stop stereotyping people if we in turn are stereotyping and excluding them.
He may like trump and being loud, but he also likes Britney Spears and cared about a strangers dog, and doesn’t play music all hours into the night. He personally has never shown any tendency to violence, right?
So just treat him like a person. Maybe not someone who is going to be your best friend, but someone you can ask to keep it down.
meadowphoenix July 5, 2017, 11:19 am
I too do not think Buck is going to get violent about a request but “we can’t ask trump supporters to be inclusive and stop stereotyping people if we in turn are stereotyping and excluding them” let’s not make extremely false equivalences, yes? We can absolutely ask people to not discriminate against a class of people because they exist and want to have equal civil rights, even if people are discriminated against because of their actual (unethical, harmful, and dubiously logical) actions, a completely rational and sometimes even moral method of discrimination that all of us use all the time. I would even say that the latter is 100% the way civil rights legislation works.
So OP: “Hey Buck, I heard you play “Oops I did it again” yesterday. That’s one of my favorites. Unfortunately, my husband has a bit of sensitivity to noise that I don’t think he anticipated moving to the city. Would you do us a favor and play your music lower from Xam to Ypm? We’ll work on getting him noise-cancelling earphones.”
ele4phant July 5, 2017, 11:36 am
Yeah…I’m not saying we should allow the entire class of Trump supporters to discriminate against people and violate civil rights because “fairness”. Not at all. That absolutely should be criticized loudly and continuously.
I’m saying we should evaluate all individuals on a case-by-case basis instead of immediately assuming we know everything they’re about and what they’ll do based on a few external facts we’ve observed about them.
Buck has proven he’s loud and a Trump supporter. He also has proven he respects a time limit for his noise (albeit the LW would like that time limit to be earlier), that he cares about a stranger’s dog, and that he likes 90s bubble-gum pop.
Some of that squares with the Trump supporter stereotype, some of it doesn’t at all.
So rather than assume she knows what his deal is, the LW should just view him as a complex, whole person that she doesn’t know at all, and approach him with the same respect AND reservation she would any other stranger she might have a noise issue with.
Kategreen July 5, 2017, 11:38 am
She can’t treat him like a person because she genuinely believes that just by virtue of supporting Trump, talking to this guy will “escalate” things and she is concerned for her safety. From a Britney Spears-loving, shirtless guy who saved her dog. Jesus.
Also: You and your husband just sound ill-suited for living in the city. Even if this guy suddenly stopped making any noise at all, I have a feeling you would then notice how loud the cars are that drive by or become bothered by another neighbor that has the audacity to invite friends over and chill on their porch. It would be another story completely if he was playing extremely loud music until the morning, or actually yelling all night (you said he DOESN’T go until all hours and that his loud voice is just due to his natural register). Honestly, I get the sense that music probably isn’t even THAT loud, because 1) you and your husband already seem a little oversensitive and you basically acknowledged that, 2) you call it a “significant volume” not even a loud volume and said that he hasn’t done anything that would violate any noise codes which includes the volume, the frequency of the nuisance, and the time of day/night, 3) you mention a lot of irrelevant things in your complaint like his door being open, and his political flag, and his shirtlessness (who cares that he’s shirtless? Does that really offend your precious sensibilities that much?). It sounds like you just don’t like this guy and are looking for reasons to be bothered.
Kate July 5, 2017, 9:40 am
Hmm, Buck sounds annoying but not like an asshole. But he is who he is, and the most I think you could ask is that he keeps the music and voices down after 9 or 10pm. I just don’t think you can reasonably ask him to change his behavior beyond that.
Our next door neighbor is grandiose, delusional, and a total asshole. She started out nice and asking for help with stuff, then out of nowhere she planted these ugly tall grasses between our roof deck and hers, which mess up our view of the city. Last year she ignored my husband’s repeated requests to discuss it, help her move the planters, etc, then when we said we’d just cut them, she barged in and started insulting us (I’m “short,” which isn’t her fucking fault, SHE has a real job so she’s busy, blah blah blah). She actually is in violation of the condo docs, but no association had been formed yet and STILL hasn’t. It’s way overdue. We actually are moving because we can’t deal with living next to such an asshole, and we asked politely via email if she’d mind moving the plants down while we show the place. No response. No response to the next email asking for 5 minutes to chat, until 2 days later when she replied, “no thanks, I’m super busy.” Which, karma, she got let go from her “real job” and isn’t working so that’s bullshit.
Whatever. The point is, I’d just move too, unless you can make friends with him. Problem neighbors are unfortunately a serious big deal, and unless you live in a managed complex, there’s not a lot you can do.
TheHizzy July 5, 2017, 10:01 am
Why does the story for LW#2 sound so familiar? I feel like previously people told the other writer to stay out of it? I can’t 100% remember.
Northern Star July 5, 2017, 10:37 am
LW 1, seems like you should have checked out the neighborhood before buying. Yeah, it would be annoying to live next to a loud guy with lots of company/dogs. On the other hand, your noise-sensitive husband is going to be rattled in the LARGEST CITY IN THE USA FILLED WITH PEOPLE on a regular basis. Too bad you didn’t think this through before buying. And too bad you think because someone is a Trump supporter he’s an unperson, no matter how many times he saves your dog.
Ele4phant July 5, 2017, 11:01 am
Yeah I mean I don’t know how long these two have lived in the city – maybe a long time. But from what I can tell Buck is maybe on an extreme end of the continuum but still within what’s reasonable in an urban setting. If they move if it’s not him it’ll be somebody else, you know?
I don’t live in Brooklyn but I do live in a townhome in a central part of a major city. Sometimes it’s loud. Sometimes the neighbors play music or hang outside on their patio on a hot night. There’s cars, dogs parking, yelling and just, noise.
I’m very noise sensitive too but I’ve learned to wear earplugs and turn on fans and have cultivated good relationships with my neighbors so they now respect certain cutoffs and give me a heads up when they plan to have people over. My natural preference would be to have be silent but I want to live where I do and that’s part of it, so I’ve learned to deal.
Husband needs to learn to deal, or they need to move back to the suburbs if he can’t.
Fyodor July 5, 2017, 10:52 am
I have a very low opinion of Trump and a *very* low decision of anyone who decides to vote for him but it’s not like Trump supporting places are violent, chaotic dystopias. I don’t think that you can draw any conclusions about how he’s going to handle this from his (objectively terrible) vote for Trump.
That being said, it’s almost universally been my experience though that noisy people won’t stop being noisy. It’s worth trying though.
Fyodor July 5, 2017, 10:54 am
” *very* low decision of anyone who decides to vote for him ”
This should be “very low opinion of the decision to vote for him”
dinoceros July 5, 2017, 11:14 am
I don’t think that it tells them for sure how he will react, but there is a portion of his supporters who like him because he doesn’t back down and he’s rude and says it’s OK to be selfish and not be nice to others. He may not be part of that group, but he might be. And some of Trump’s supporters are unhinged and are being fed the idea that in Trump’s America, you can respond to people totally irrationally and you have a right to.
I think it would be a little careless to not at least consider the possibility that he might act out about this.
ele4phant July 5, 2017, 11:22 am
I mean, couldn’t you assume anyone who is blatantly loud in a dense urban setting is perhaps going to be self-centered and rude? And therefore is potentially not going to react well if you aggressively confront them?
I think the Trump thing is a red herring here, and they should approach Buck the same way you would for any neighbor you’re having a noise issue with.
Which is to say, diplomatically with specific suggestions you’d like them to meet, and be aware they may react adversely.
And TBH, husband needs to learn to live with noise. 11pm is kind of late on a weeknight, but still, its not insane. Even if they move elsewhere, who noise, maybe they’ll be living next to the recent college grades that sit outside smoking and laughing all night. If his intolerance for noise is so bad that its impacting his wife, he needs to learn to better cope with it or they need to move out of the city.
There’s just going to be noise in the city.
Dear Wendy July 5, 2017, 11:26 am
I’m curious, too, if anyone know any Trump supporters — and I don’t mean people who simply voted for Trump (I know these people myself; I have a lot of relatives who fit this category), but people who actively and ardently support him, wave Trump flags, have Trump bumper stickers and banners in their windows — who are reasonable, thoughtful, civic-minded, and courteous? Do these people exist? I have not met one yet. I see lots of comments online from Trump supporters and they’re 100% nasty and hateful. I get hate emails from them on a regular basis. I’ve never received an email or comment from a Trump supporter that seemed at all measured or thoughtful. It’s hard to imagine thoughtful Trump supporters exist. Do they?
ele4phant July 5, 2017, 11:51 am
Yeah sure, I know lots. I grew up in a red state, half my high school class could be considered hardcore Trump supporters. And while I don’t have a lot of common with these folks (politically or just in genera), you know, they’re people.
I have no doubt you get a lot of online hate, but the internet really does attract the trolls. About a third of Trump voters could be classified as Trump’s base. While that’s certainly a minority of the electorate, that’s still tens of millions of people.
Are you getting hate mail from tens of millions of people, or is it really an odious few that takes pleasure in harassing you online? (And honestly, would they even treat you like that in person? Most trolls cave in sunlight – see the reddit guy who made that stupid CNN Trump video)
I disagree, fervently with people could be classified as Trump’s base. I do think that racism and sexism is the driving undercurrent in their support for Trump.
I *also* think most of them are not going to threaten a neighbor who asks them if they couldn’t keep it down a bit. I think you could live next to one of them without an major adverse impact on each other’s lives.
Are you going to have regular neighborhood cook-outs? Eh, maybe not, maybe you’re not going to hang-out. But you could definitely live next door to many of them without incident.
Kategreen July 5, 2017, 11:58 am
Wendy: my whole family voted for Trump and my father is a big supporter who owns and wears a “make America great again” baseball cap and sweatshirt. In his personal interactions with strangers and friends/family, he is extremely courteous and fair. He also knows how liberals (and he knows I’m liberal) generally think of Trump supporters and at the same time genuinely respects people who are courteous and fair to him. That is to say that even if a stranger came over in a Clinton t-shirt, if that person were courteous and fair to him, he would be in return. Honestly even if they weren’t terribly courteous or fair, he STILL would be. I think the average Trump supporter (not the crazy redditors online, but real people in middle America) seems to separate personal from political. I KNOW why this is problematic and dissonant and I really don’t want to debate or pick apart the reasoning of my father, if that’s okay with everyone. Because I’m not supporting it or saying it makes sense. I just wanted to share that in my experience (and he’s not the only trump supporter I know BY FAR), supporting trump doesn’t necessarily mean ANYthing about how that person will engage with real individual people.
ele4phant July 5, 2017, 12:22 pm
Honestly the fact that many liberals don’t know any Trump supporters – the kind that buy the yard signs and shirts in person is a problem. If all you encounter is the online or the images you see of his rallies, yeah, its easy to demonize all of them as incapable of behaving in polite society.
But, most of them can and will be polite, if superficial, around other people. Most of them are not prone to violent rages at the slightest provocation.
Is Trump’s rhetoric and policies racist, sexist, and harmful? Yes. Do many of his hard core supporters support him because they hold sexist and racist worldviews? Arguably yes.
Does that mean they are going to behave like lawless criminals with zero respect for others if you have one as your neighbor?
Nah…we could probably live peaceably next to one another, although we may not be besties.
Northern Star July 5, 2017, 12:22 pm
Did you seriously just ask “It’s hard to imagine thoughtful Trump supporters exist. Do they?”
Wow. Just… wow. People had 100 million different reasons for supporting Trump, up to and including an extreme dislike for Hillary Clinton. My lovely neighbors had Trump bumper stickers and flags in their yard. Who knows why—and who cares, because they are awesome.
Dear Wendy July 5, 2017, 12:46 pm
It’s really not a ridiculous question. And did you really say: “My lovely neighbors had Trump bumper stickers and flags in their yard. Who knows why—and who cares”? Um, a lot of people care why someone would support a person who is actively trying to dismantle our democracy and promote violence against journalists who strive to bring light to some of the atrocities his administration is committing on a near-daily basis.
Northern Star July 5, 2017, 12:56 pm
*shrug* I don’t feel it’s right to paint half the country with a broad brush as violent dullards incapable of being decent human beings because they didn’t want Hillary Clinton to be president.
Dear Wendy July 5, 2017, 1:08 pm
Yeah, that’s not what I said. I know plenty of people who voted for Trump whom I would call decent people (I most certainly disagree with their vote); what I’m asking — or, rather arguing, I guess — is how people can actively support Trump (which is different than simply voting for him because you didn’t like Hillary) and be measured, thoughtful, civil people when the person they support is the opposite of those things. And for God’s sake, it most certainly is NOT half the country that supports Trump! He didn’t even get half the popular vote in November, let alone the support of half the people eligible to vote. So even if I were saying that everyone who voted for him is a “violent dullard incapable of being decent human being” (which I am not!), it wouldn’t be “half the country” I’m referring to. Not by a long shot.
ele4phant July 5, 2017, 1:19 pm
So to be fair, Northernstar answered your question “does anyone know any Trump supporters that are thoughtful, civic minded, ect” with an unequivocal yes. Such people exist.
Now is it fair to want to know *why* people support Trump, and continue to support Trump? Yes, of course, if nothing more than to understand their reasoning and to craft arguements that will hit home on why they shouldn’t.
But to her point, there are lots of reasons why people voted for Trump, and if you live in an liberal bubble and assume that all hardcore Trump supporters are thoughtless, self-centered and incapable of discourse or polite behavior, you’re not really in a position to pontificate on their motivates or behavior, or to assume carte blanche that someone who put up a yard sign is going to exemplify the worst behavior.
And there’s definitely a difference between criticizing a platform and ideas (ie Trump’s platform) and ascribing all those criticisms at the individual level. Hardcore Trump supporters *did* have different reasons for supporting him, and the vast majority of them are law-abiding. You may not ever be able to cultivate a tight friendship with them, but it also shouldn’t be your knee jerk reaction to think “This person supported Trump, ergo they are self-centered and are prone to violence, ergo I could not live near them”.
Sarah July 5, 2017, 1:25 pm
I certainly don’t know any reasonable, thoughtful, civic-minded people who are ardent Trump supporters. Why? Because they don’t exist! Why? Because being a Trump supporter means you are NOT reasonable, thoughtful, or civic-minded. They are mutually exclusive.
ele4phant July 5, 2017, 1:29 pm
Also – what’s the line for a hardcore supporter?
Is Buck a hard core supporter, or not? He put up a yard sign, but it doesn’t sound like he’s screaming MAGA at the top of his lungs all the time. We don’t know why he decided to support Trump.
Northernstars neighbors put up yard signs, and again, we don’t know why, but they have been respectful neighbors. A lot of my hometown neighbors have put up yard signs, and yet they were pleasant enough people to grow up around and are pleasant enough when I visit home.
What’s the line between a a Trump supporter and someone who just voted for Trump? How can any of us possibly tell without a long deep conversation to get at their motivations?
And, what does it matter when the question at hand is, “Can you coexist peacefully with somebody next door?”
Dear Wendy July 5, 2017, 1:59 pm
It’s great that your hometown neighbors who put up yard signs for Trump were pleasant to grow up around and pleasant enough to you when you visit home. Are you a person of color? A Muslim? Gay? I’d be curious if they would still be so pleasant to you if you were and if you’d still be totally fine visiting home where your childhood neighbors actively support a candidate working tirelessly to disenfranchise you and strip you of your civil rights.
And for what it’s worth, to address a point you made in another comment about living in a liberal bubble, which I think was directed at me: it’s true that I live in Brooklyn, and that 95% of the voters in my district voted against Trump. But I wouldn’t say it’s a liberal bubble, per se. I send my son our neighborhood public school where the teacher side-eyes my son for wearing pink jewelry and recently pulled me aside to express concern over Jackson asking if boys can marry boys. When I raised my concern on an online forum for families of the school, over the teacher’s concern and her refusal to answer the question, I actually got a lot of heat. It was definitely not an echo chamber with people suggesting that sensitivity training might be in order or that, you know, teachers be instructed to answer in the affirmative when kids ask if people of the same sex can marry. I was told to respect people who may have deep concerns about homosexuality and not want their children subjected to any hint of discussion about it in public school. Does that sound like a liberal bubble to you?
ele4phant July 5, 2017, 2:16 pm
Hey, I live in a liberal bubble too, by choice (my city council representative is a socialist). It’s not a criticism, of you or anyone.
And yes, even my liberal bubble has some serious issues when it comes to race, so I understand that liberal doesn’t mean perfect utopia, that there are some serious strains of social conservatism in the bluest part of the country.
But, if you (or I) are not interacting regularly with Trump supporters, that means we’re going to be making judgments about them based on the highest profile, most outlandish images we have of them. And again, not a criticism of you or anyone, it just is.
And Trump supporters are still people, with all the complexity and nuance of anyone else. So, to assume they are cartoons of the ideology they support is false, just as much as it is wrong that they view Muslims, or African-Americans, or us as one-dimensional cartoons.
Would minorities feel comfortable in my hometown, probably not. But the bar isn’t “Are Trump supporters actually open-minded and welcoming to all?”, but “Are all the tens of millions of hardcore Trump supporters incapable of adhering to basic social norms?”
I would say definitely not to the former, but I would also say the latter is untrue.
Dear Wendy July 5, 2017, 2:29 pm
I hear what you’re saying, but what if a person is already exhibiting questionable basic social norms (playing loud music until 11 PM every night and hanging out on his porch with his big loud dogs and multiple friends and speaking at a very loud volume for hours on end?) AND flying a Trump flag? Don’t you think it’s safe — like, literally, safe — to make some general assumptions about how that person might react to a newish neighbor asking him to tone it down a bit? I think the Trump flag can at least be a clue. Taken alone, without any other clue, I would agree that it would be unfair to assume the person flying it is unreasonable or indecent. But taken with other clues that suggest the person has questionable social graces — the LW just told me that last night they heard the neighbor “talking about his penis, and about making young girls bleed” — I think the Trump flag can serve as a warning that the person may be someone you might want to avoid…
Fyodor July 5, 2017, 2:30 pm
Note: not sure if the threading is placing this in the right place.
“It’s great that your hometown neighbors who put up yard signs for Trump were pleasant to grow up around and pleasant enough to you when you visit home. Are you a person of color? A Muslim? Gay? I’d be curious if they would still be so pleasant to you if you were and if you’d still be totally fine visiting home where your childhood neighbors actively support a candidate working tirelessly to disenfranchise you and strip you of your civil rights.”
This is the question YOU asked-whether Trump supporters could act normally and pleasantly enough to resolve a noise dispute amicably. Now you’re basically crapping down her throat for answering that question. And the answer to your question is clearly yes-Trump did really well all over parts of America that are nonetheless not riddled with endless neighbor-on-neighbor related violence. I have no trouble saying that a Trump vote was morally blameworthy but it doesn’t tell you much about how they are going to deal with complaints regarding loud music.
Dear Wendy July 5, 2017, 2:43 pm
I did not ask whether Trump supporters could act normally and pleasantly enough to resolve a noise dispute amicably. You may have inferred that line of inquiry, but it is not what I asked.
What I asked is: Do you know Trump supporters who are “reasonable, thoughtful, civic-minded, and courteous?” “Pleasantry” doesn’t really answer that question, no.
ele4phant July 5, 2017, 2:37 pm
Ah certainly the violence against young girls line, had we known it, would’ve changed my opinion.
But based on what I knew from the letter, I would’ve judged his behavior to be obnoxious but within the bounds of city living and not threatening.
And I still don’t think support for Trump leads to potentially going to be violent when asked to turn music. Morally suspect sure? Speaks to values I really disagree with and think are harmful. Sure.
Middle America isn’t some wasteland of violence anymore than our inner cities are, so I’m not going to take Trump support as indicative one way or the other about how someone would behave if asked to be quiet.
Now, if I overheard him talk about making young women bleed inter-vaginally, yeah, that’d give me pause.
Janelle July 5, 2017, 11:13 am
I have an upstairs neighbor who is insanely loud. I get it. I also hesitate to do anything due to retaliation. I actually was just thinking about what I can do as she was stomping around above me right before i opened my computer and read this. I have complained to management about an upstairs neighbor before and it was met with anger stomping until the day they moved out. Sigh.
The Trump flag thing though I am so over hearing. It is so narrow minded and rude. This is not the first post I have seen about not trusting, having respect for Trump supporters. I am not saying I support him but this behavior is just ridiculous and compounding the problem. `I would never treat someone differently due to their views. We are to tolerant or different religions, sexual preferences, etc but apparently we now can just be assholes to someone who has different political views than us? No, no no. That is so narrow minded and bigoted. I truly cannot stand it anymore.
meadowphoenix July 5, 2017, 11:31 am
I would never treat someone differently due to their views.
Oh word? Never? You’re as cool with the KKK, whose views are actually literally harmful, as you are with gay people with their ~preferences, which harm literally no one? As down with people who advocate for the destruction of a race of people as you are with people campaigning for their civil rights? Self-righteous fence morality is so fascinating!
Janelle July 5, 2017, 11:32 am
AND you proved my point. Massive eye roll.
meadowphoenix July 5, 2017, 1:50 pm
What point did I prove, Janelle? That you believe tolerating bigotry the same way you would people existing is “narrow-minded and bigoted”? That I don’t believe tolerating politics which does violence to other people is “bigoted”? That your “I never treat anyone differently” is hyperbole that allows injustice? I’m okay with any of those.
dinoceros July 6, 2017, 6:58 pm
Who said they should be an asshole to him? If you have to mischaracterize someone else’s statements in order to prove your point, then your point is probably not relevant.
Sorry, but if someone supports a guy who advocates violence against others, then I will think of that person differently.
dinoceros July 5, 2017, 11:20 am
LW1: I think ultimately yo need to move also. I think it’s unlikely this guy is going to change his entire lifestyle for you all, especially since he has other neighbors and has never changed for them. If you did want to try or at least can’t move for awhile, I think he’s the type of person who you’d want to form a decent relationship with first. He may be the type who is willing to tone it down during certain times for a good acquaintance, but maybe not for some random neighbors he doesn’t know.
LW2: I agree with Wendy. Short and sweet. If he’s interested, the ball is in his court. If not, then you may want to use some of the same resources that helped you before to figure out how you can move on. Because there’s the potential you guys could get back together, and the potential that you might not, and if not, you need to find a way to not pine over him for the rest of your life.
AuntyMacasar July 5, 2017, 11:21 am
Eh, LW#1. Like Wendy said, you’ve moved to a big city, and noise of one kind or another tends to go with the territory. I live in a well-established neighborhood in another big city, and I have to say it is annoying when people move from the suburbs and expect our neighborhood to be as quiet and well-behaved as the burbs. You can address the noise with him, really, you can — but lose the snobbery if you want to have a chance at success (shirtless? who really gives af?).
Dear Wendy July 5, 2017, 11:48 am
The first letter today made me think of our neighbor in our last apartment. She was recently retired and had moved to brooklyn from wisconsin. I don’t know if she’d ever lived in a big city before. I’m guessing not, because she complained constantly about the noise we made and we made very little noise. We never played our music loudly, we didn’t have loud pets, we didn’t watch loud TV or have parties or anything. She complained once that our babysitter was singing ABCs too loudly in the stairwell. Another time she complained that Jackson, who was a baby at the time, was crawling too loudly. She was concerned that when he was learning to walk, he was wearing shoes indoors (he wasn’t but it was hardly any of her business), and she offered to buy him socks with tread on the bottom. She would call and complain at 3 pm on a wednesday if we had another toddler over for a playdate that it was just too much noise for her. I’m sorry, but if you can’t handle the sounds of two 2-year-olds playing above you in the middle of a weekday afternoon, you don’t belong in a big city. Go buy a nice little home at the end of a culdesac in a pleasant suburb somewhere. When we moved into our current apartment and we knew our landlord would be living below us, I made SURE he was ok with the potential noise we’d be making as a family with two small kids. In 2 1/2 years, he has never once made a complaint, and any time we’ve checked in with him about the noise level, he’s like, “what are you talking about? Why would I live in the city if I couldn’t handle reasonable noise?” Amen.
(This isn’t to say that today’s LW is being unreasonable — only that her letter made me think of our last neighbor and how it’s a good thing to be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re cut out for city-living).
LW Numero Uno July 5, 2017, 1:26 pm
Hey all, LW1 here…
Thanks for all thoughts and considerations and ideas. A few details I thought I’d try and clear up:
1) I’ve been living in the boroughs of NYC for about 20 years, though this is the first home — i.e., living room at ground-level — existence we’ve had (all co-ops/rentals until now). So I’m used to various noises through the windows, sounds of neighbors and so forth, including the occasional night-long car alarm that won’t quit. Buck doesn’t bug me as much for that reason. The hubs, though, this is new for him and we’re here in this area because it’s close to where he works.
2) Though I’m no fan of 45, the mention of the flag wasn’t trying to be some kind of Godwin’s Law or anything — I mentioned it because frankly it made me concerned he would be more likely to be vindictive or less than neighborly. Judgy much? Sure. But paired with all the other evidence, the last thing I wanted to do was show our soft underbelly to someone who might take pleasure in poking it in the future. I think if you’ve already made the leap into being the noisiest guy on the street — on a street which is quiet in all other ways otherwise — some yo-yo neighbor who just got here isn’t likely to make a dent in your social plans.
3) The notion of visiting neighbors ahead of time and asking about the hood is the best 20/20 hindsight I wish I could send to myself a year ago. It just never occurred to me, which is dumb. There were a couple dumb moves from ignorance we made when buying this place, which we love otherwise.
4) Not moving: The last move was incredibly traumatic, we’ve got sunk costs in this place now due to a major unexpected repair (see No. 3) and it’s close to the hubs’ work, so, we’ll suck it up. The idea was to see if everyone else thought we should approach Buck or not, and if so, how. Thank you!
ele4phant July 5, 2017, 1:52 pm
I do think you need to let go of the concern that he may vindictive (or more vindictive than any other neighbor you might encounter) if the *only* reason you have is his support of Trump. You don’t know what appealed to him about Trump, you don’t know how in the tank he is, and from everything else he sounds fine – he helped with your dog, and he respects general noise restrictions, and honestly, he’s not even that bad if it weren’t for your extrordinarily sensitive husband.
Which really, the problem is your husband yes? Buck is a character, but to your own admission he’s not doing anything over the line. You guys are stuck in this house. Your husband needs to figure out how to live in an urban environment. Even if you talk to Buck and he turns stuff down later at night, he’s gonna make some noise, as might a new neighbor that moves in.
Try earplugs, fans, meditation, maybe biofeedback. I get it, I’m sensitive to noise too, but he’s gotta learn how to live in an urban environment making him (and you!) go crazy.
Or you guys have to figure out how to move. Brooklyn’s rental market is hot, yeah? Maybe you need to be suburban landlords.
RedRoverRedRover July 5, 2017, 2:31 pm
Personally I would worry about vindictiveness from this guy anyway. You just never know. Nothing to do with the Trump sign – more to do with the fact that this guy has already decided it’s totally acceptable to constantly make this level of noise. At some level, that’s an anti-social thing to do. You must know you’re being annoying, and you just don’t care. He’s basically said, “fuck em”. From someone like that, I’d fear vindictiveness even if he had a Care Bears sign on the lawn.
MiMi July 5, 2017, 1:56 pm
LW1, what your neighbor is doing sounds like what my immigrant grandparents described from the old days, everyone hanging out on their stoop in the evenings, visiting with others, kids running up and down – you know, like a neighborhood where people know each other, not just a street of blank windows and closed doors behind which strangers lurk in silence? Neither expecting everyone to enjoy your tunes on auto-repeat or expecting utter peace and quiet are reasonable expectations. At least make a solid effort to try and find common ground from which to work with your neighbor before you throw in the towel. And if this is mostly your husband’s issue, let him be the one to work on it.
anonymousse July 5, 2017, 3:08 pm
I’m sorry, but if you are in a metropolitan city displaying a flag with racist, sexist and bigoted connotations, it’s right, smart and prudent of anyone to assume that person is waiting for someone to pick a fight with him. And clearly with the music, dogs, etc loud until 11 or later every week day, e is trying to push buttons and get a reaction.
The chorus of those defending ardent DT supporters, you have my sympathies. Your personal beliefs are showing and they don’t look too good!
Juliecatharine July 5, 2017, 5:35 pm
There’s a lot of bigotry on this thread and it ain’t coming from Buck. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, living in an echo chamber gets you nowhere. In fact, it got us to Trump–do you like it? I don’t either. Maybe we should stop making assumptions about people.
Kallie July 5, 2017, 7:36 pm
I read your site consistently. Your advice is always wise and full of common sense. But seriously, this line of talk from you is so surprising. I’m sorry, but I’m going to be really blunt/harsh here. Your conversation sounds exactly like a racist, narrow minded person. Which I know not to be true. Listen to yourself. You’re lumping us “Trump” supporters into one large evil group, which you know CAN’T possibly be true. Because if you apply your desire to be open minded and insist upon seeing people for who they are and not their skin color or size or disability or who they voted for and see them for the individual that they are, then you have to apply that to Trump supporters as well, but you don’t seem to be doing that. And if you can’t do that, then you haven’t done your homework and your forming your opinion on your own inner prejudicial biases, not actual facts. Its as if you have not stepped outside the liberal media to also listen to the conservative perspective. You have to at least be willing to hear both sides in order to form a fair, balanced and grounded perspective. Come on. You know that. There is always two sides to every story and there is always some truth in either side, as well. Even when we don’t want to hear it. You deal with that constantly with this site.
My deepest apologies for jerks who insult you on this blog. Just know they are probably 40 year old men still living in mom’s basement. But also you have to know that jerks come in all shapes sized and colors and education. That means trolls will be trolls regardless of political affiliation. Meaning: Conservative blogs get the same 40 year old men still living in mom’s basement, ignorant souls that have very poor social skills as well. Surely, you know that?
And why don’t you get people admitting they are Trump supporters voicing on your site? Your writings outside the advice section doesn’t really create an atmosphere of acceptance for that.
Anyway, since in your previous notes you wondered why we did what we did. I’d like to offer my explanation of why I supported Trump. I supported him because Hillary and her flagrant, in your face lies, deceptions and criminal activity scared the [email protected]# out of me. And I was appalled at how the world continued to smile with that blind idolization as her behavior became worse and worse. She divided the country with her ‘us versus the deplorables’. Nope. Us deplorables are a part of this county too. We ALL should have a voice. Our county was built on ALL having a voice. Not just one group. That’s called a dictatorship. Our founding fathers created two political groups so that we would balance each other. So that no one group could gain control and use that power over the other, causing them to be less than. To be minimized and to eventually be diminished into a voiceless group. That’s what she offered. Frightening.
Yes, Trump in his personal life, is a complete a-hole. I’m sure we agree on that. But, seriously, so is Hillary. She has proven that she is vile and unethical, lacks any care for anyone else including this country unless it benefits her. Yes, Trump is misogynist. I’m not excusing it . But Hillary’s weakness are just as awful. As if misogyny is the worst thing that a person can be. No. Allowing people to die and then not taking responsibility for it, I think is worse. Flagrantly, defying security that affects the entire country, I believe, is worse. What frustrates me is how the liberal members so blatantly and consistently make excuses for her. Ugh!
I voted for Trump because, regardless of his dysfunction, his misogyny, regardless of all that, and I say regardless, not because I believe those things are insignificant, because they are not, but because, for me, it was the lesser of two evils. It came down to: I believe he actually wants this country to be that strong country it used to be. And with him in it, and the liberals voice, as well, which calls for more tolerance of those that have been ignored and pushed outside, then it could be. With Hillary, I saw our country being quietly, subversively being taken for everything it had. I hope and believe that we will have a female president soon. But, I am willing to wait for that female who will bring pride to her post not shame and destruction.
Now, as most of the readers here tend to be more liberal minded than myself, I imagine, I’m going to get completely blasted. But remember readers, as Wendy has probably already stated. Your name calling reflects who you are, not me. So, take a minute, form your thoughts and then blast . Actually, I probably won’t read any responses, anyway. I mean, the point of all this was to reply to Wendy’s frustration. Possibly give her a perspective from a Trump supporter which may introduce the idea that Trumps supporters want the same things as anyone else: kindness, freedom, fairness, compassion, independence, a voice, value, integrity.
Dear Wendy July 5, 2017, 8:57 pm
If you think my line of thinking sounds racist (?!?!), and that Trump is out for anyone but himself, I believe you’re terribly misguided, and as a Trump supporter, directly responsible for a lot of mess we find ourselves in. But I do thank you for your perspective, especially considering that you know you’re entering a lion’s den sharing your viewpoint here.
Bittergaymark July 6, 2017, 1:44 am
Trump wanted to make money and inflate his already bloated as fuck ego. He doesn’t give a fuck about anybody. Hasn’t the past few months alone proved that? I mean — seriously? Seriously. SERIOUSLY?!?
Kate July 6, 2017, 7:03 am
“the idea that Trumps supporters want the same things as anyone else: kindness, freedom, fairness, compassion, independence, a voice, value, integrity.”
That’s a nice idea, but it’s all completely incongruous with Trump’s presidency, so I can’t reconcile it with supporting him. Especially now, 6 months in. Kindness? Have you read about all the school kids invoking Trump’s name or his words when bullying other kids? Not to mention the hate crimes, desecration of monuments, calls for lynchings? Do you just not hear about that stuff? Or think it’s fake news? Freedom? Restricting people from travel? Demanding their voting history data? Fairness? Health coverage and tax breaks for the rich but tough shit for the middle class and poor? Compassion? 26 million more people who will be uninsured, for many of whom that’s gonna be a death sentence? Doing away with programs like Meals on Wheels which I’ve seen with my own eyes keep people alive and independent and out of hospitals. Integrity, oh my God, the conflicts of interest, the constant stream of lies, do you even realize? A voice, yes, I hear you, but so far I’ve heard a lot more voice given to hatred, racism, and bullying. I guess I believe you want all those things you listed, but DT is the last person in America who stands for those things or will give them to you and your neighbors. Unless you’re super rich. Sorry.
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 8:17 am
My family will be directly affected if some of DT’s administration’s policies are passed. We will likely lose our health insurance if that atrocious bill moves forward. And as a mother of a child with some special needs who has an IEP (Individualized Education Program), I am VERY concerned about how Betsy DeVos wants to cut funding to public schools and screw over kids who get special services. We are fortunate that we are comfortably middle class and have some options that we can explore privately (which we already do because it’s warranted), but my bleeding liberal heart aches for all the kids whose families don’t have the resources to provide all the support they need and who rely on their public school system to help. Where’s the kindness and compassion in cutting that help?!
Northern Star July 6, 2017, 12:44 pm
“My family will be directly affected if some of DT’s administration’s policies are passed.”
And MY family was directly affected when Obamacare passed. My out-of-pocket health insurance costs went way up, and things that used to be covered (specifically for me, eye exams) were stripped away.
So, you see, while you vote for what is in your family’s interest—I will vote for what I believe is in my family’s interest.
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 12:57 pm
Well, actually, no. My vote was for way more than just my family’s personal interest. We’re going to be just fine. As I said. We are financially comfortable. We can afford an increase in health insurance (which we have always paid for out-of-pocket). We won’t be happy about it, but we can afford it. And we can — and do already — afford services for our child that really should be covered by taxpayers. My concern was and is for people who have similar and much greater needs who CAN’T afford to meet those needs without help.
But, hey, good luck to you getting better/cheaper health coverage with DT in charge!
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 1:02 pm
Also, I’d happily pay more in taxes, more in my own health coverage, my kids’ education, our housing costs, if it meant people who are less fortunate than we are got a little more support. My family will likely pay much more in health coverage if DT is ever able to get anything on his agenda accomplished. That in itself isn’t such a huge problem. What IS the problem is that our increase in costs wouldn’t go toward supporting the less fortunate; it would go toward cutting taxes for the super rich. THAT is what I have a problem with.
ktfran July 6, 2017, 12:58 pm
My insurance went up too, but it has been steadily on the rise well before ACA was passed. It sucks. It basically washes away what my yearly increase is, which is almost always around 2.5%. However, I’m more than willing to pay a little more so that children with disabilities can be covered. And so that all women have access to affordable reproductive healthcare.
Corporations have been trying to strip away employee health benefits for ages, so it would have happened sooner or later.
I mean, think of all the people who work at retail stores so we can buy more stuff and people who work at restaurants so we can be lazy and eat out and people who work at gas stations and clean homes and the hundreds of other jobs that make my life easier. They finally had access to healthcare.
ACA wasn’t even close to perfect, but it did make sure certain protections were in place, and for that reason, despite prices going up, I was ok with it.
What they’re proposing now is scary. And you still won’t get your eye insurance back and prices will still go up.
ktfran July 6, 2017, 7:55 am
I appreciate your comment and without hearing about the girls and bleeding comment, I thought people were being a little alarmist about this guy. I do know and love Trump supporters, my parents, and while I wholeheartedly disagree with them politically, I know a little about why they voted the way they did. Plus, I don’t want Trump to succeed in dividing us.
Anyway… fair and balanced? I honestly can’t believe those words could be said with the current administration, coupled with a republican controlled legislature. And the new Justice? Who will sit on the bench for 30 years or so? Yikes! There is nothing balanced about our current state of affairs. My only hope is that we will be able to rebuild better and stronger because I truly think America will soon hit bottom, if it hasn’t already.
Also, I feel remiss if I didn’t remind all republicans the hate and obstructionism that was thrown at Obama for 8 years. And now everyone wants democrats to play nice? Hypocrisy at it’s finest.
angelsiris11 July 6, 2017, 8:03 am
All I have to say to this nonsense is that there is more to hate about Trump than his misogyny. *cough, xenophobia, dog whistle racism, cough* Oh and I am tired of the false equivalency between Trump and Clinton. Trump voters should just admit they only cared about their self-interest and leave it at that.
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 8:11 am
Ok, I want to address a few points that you made in case you do decide to read the replies to your comment and are interested in a discussion:
1. You say: “Because if you apply your desire to be open minded and insist upon seeing people for who they are and not their skin color or size or disability or who they voted for and see them for the individual that they are, then you have to apply that to Trump supporters as well, but you don’t seem to be doing that.”
See, I actually DON’T insist we not see people for whom they voted for. Skin color, size, disability,race, gender, sexual identity — those are all things people don’t have much control over. Whom they vote for? Lots of control over that, and I think it says a lot about your values and who you are as a person. So, yeah, I have no issue judging people for their voting choices, and I have no problem with others judging me for mine.
2. “Its as if you have not stepped outside the liberal media to also listen to the conservative perspective. You have to at least be willing to hear both sides in order to form a fair, balanced and grounded perspective. ”
I agree, which is why I check FoxNews.com every single day. And, I have to say: I am appalled — absolutely appalled by what I read. But I am also willing and eager to hear the conservative perspective from actual people (some of whom I’m related to) and what I hear from them and from you is that we share a different set of values.
3. You say: “Our county was built on ALL having a voice. Not just one group. That’s called a dictatorship. Our founding fathers created two political groups so that we would balance each other. So that no one group could gain control and use that power over the other, causing them to be less than. To be minimized and to eventually be diminished into a voiceless group. That’s what [Hillary] offered. Frightening.”
You don’t see the irony in admonishing Hillary for seeming to minimize and diminish the voice of a whole group of people, while you support a president who quite literally wants to silence and attack any journalist who voices opposition against him? Can you honestly say that Trump embraces opinions and feedback from all sides? Really?!
4. “As if misogyny is the worst thing that a person can be.”
See, this is the difference of values I’m talking about. I DO think misogyny is one of the worst traits a person can have — certainly in a person called to lead our country. I am deeply concerned and seriously ashamed that our president is a raging misogynist who brags about assaulting women, regularly mocks women’s appearances, and seem more than willing to support policies that strip women of their rights (like the right to make decisions about their health care and their bodies). I am heartbroken to be raising children in a culture where the message coming directly from our president is that women are dispensable, that they are only worth what they look like and whatever pleasure they can provide a man. It’s disgusting, morally reprehensible.
5. “Flagrantly, defying security that affects the entire country, I believe, is worse [than misogyny].”
I can’t think of a president, including George W. who has threatened our national security more than Trump has in his first few months as a president (And before that, a president-elect). Whether or not you believe that he colluded with the Russians — and there is extraordinary evidence that he/his campaign did — it should give one serious pause that he shows zero regard in the overwhelming agreement across our intelligence agencies that Russia tampered with our election and will continue to do so in the future.
6. “I hope and believe that we will have a female president soon. But, I am willing to wait for that female who will bring pride to her post not shame and destruction.”
Do you not feel shame that our president mocks women and disabled people, encourages violence against journalists, has pissed off all of our closest allies, and refuses to believe that climate change is real (just to name a handful of the extremely shameful acts of his)? And talk about destruction! To withdraw from the Paris agreement is a gross act of destruction — to our planet first and foremost, but most certainly to our international relations, too.
7. “I believe he actually wants this country to be that strong country it used to be. And with him in it, and the liberals voice, as well, which calls for more tolerance of those that have been ignored and pushed outside, then it could be.”
First of all, when liberals encourage tolerance, we’re not talking about tolerating hate, or hateful policies, misogyny, bigotry, and willful ignorance (like the refusal to believe in science). That’s not what tolerance means when we use it, and I’m really tired of conservatives twisting the word to suit their agenda and their own bigotry and ignorance (I’m not calling you a bigot). “You preach tolerance! But you don’t tolerate everyone!” Damn straight I don’t extend blanket tolerance to everyone. Not everyone expresses values or exhibits behavior worthy of my tolerance.
I’m also curious what you mean when you say “he actually wants this country to be that strong country it used to be.” Strong in what way? There are lots of ways to measure strength, and the way YOU measure it will again speak to your values. When did the country reflect the strength that you want it to get back to? And how do you think Trump will help it get there?
Finally, I respect that you want the “same things as anyone else: kindness, freedom, fairness, compassion, independence, a voice, value, integrity.” I want those things, too. But I have seen far, far, FAR less of those traits reflected in our administration, and indeed in our society, since Trump was elected and became president. And I think you are extremely misguided if you truly believe that TRUMP — a person who spends much of his time tweeting insults to his fellow citizens, is the person to foster kindness, compassion, and integrity in our country.
Kategreen July 6, 2017, 10:15 am
Hi Wendy! Just a quick tip for you, as someone who also likes to check conservative news sites: Fox News is now a pretty “moderate” conservative website, and a LOT of Trump supporters get their news from much more conservative news sites such as the blaze, the national review, and breitbart. I’m giving you this unsolicited tip because you mentioned earlier that you don’t really know any Trump supporters, so you might not already know this. I also used to check Fox News as a kind of conservative barometer, but during and after the election, I have spoken with several Trump supporters about where they get their news and to my surprise, none of them mentioned Fox News. Instead they all mentioned these other sites. Once I started reading the other sites, I realized MUCH more why we are where we are – it was enlightening, if not incredibly frustrating and depressing. These are sites read by regular people, not just the over-the-top crazy redditors.
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 11:03 am
Eek, I know, I know. I’ve been afraid to check out at those sources. When I’m back in Missouri, which I will be in a few days, I get my fill of conservative talk radio (listened to by some fairly moderate family) and it makes me want to crawl into a hole and never come out.
Anonymous July 6, 2017, 11:14 am
Wendy, it really doesn’t seem like you are interested in a discussion, and it seems like you are just looking for more opportunity to tell someone their opinion is wrong.
For the record:
I did vote Hillary, I am wary of a trump/pence administration, but I am trying (hard!) to get more involved and have faith in our democracy.
Here goes my contribution to this ‘discussion’: By saying that you know what it’s like outside the liberal bubble because you encountered a few cases of predjudice at your kids school, is like Trump saying he isn’t a misogynist because he loves his wife and daughter. Ok, that was a very extreme comparison, but really, you don’t know what anyone’s individual situation is like (and you know that from your responses to most columns, but when it comes to Trump, you seem to have a blind spot). Yes, misogyny is very bad. But, if Trump was standing there with a sandwich and medicine for my sick and starving child, I’m going to freaking take it from him, misogynist/racist/fascist or not. That is what a lot of folks think (thought?) he was going to provide, or something as equally important to them. And it’s taken a lot of soul searching for me to even comprehend that. Whether he delivers on it is irrelevant right now, and that is where the faith on the system comes in– when his voters realize many aren’t better off, he will hopefully be voted out.
I doubt I’ve swayed your opinion in any way, because at this point, I’m about 99% sure you won’t sway mine, but needed to try.
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 11:31 am
I’m not sure what you’re trying to sway my opinion on? That people who voted for Trump did so because they felt desperate for help and believed Trump would deliver that help? Or that I’m an awful person with a blindspot when it comes to Trump who is incapable of a discussion on the topic?
If it’s the former, I do believe that’s true. I think there were five kinds of Trump supports, maybe six: 1) People who desperately needed help and felt that they weren’t getting it from democrats and that their best bet for help/change was from Trump who promised them a swamp drainage in Washington; 2) Super rich people who don’t care about anyone or anything else besides getting richer; 3) Hillary-haters who would never ever have voted for Hillary even if Hitler himself were resurrected from the dead and running against her; 4) single-issue voters who would vote for anyone who promised to defund Planned Parenthood and strip women of their right to choose; 5) Racists/bigots/misogynists/homophobes/ white supremacists who recognized and appreciated the platform of hate Trump ran on and saw in him an ally who would help restore the America that existed pre-civil rights. And a 6th category is the die-hard republican who simply will always, always vote republican no matter who the nominees are (I think most people who fit this category also fit at least one of the above categories though).
I do understand the motivations of people who voted for Trump, even if I wholeheartedly disagree with most of those motivations. What I can’t understand is how any of these people can be thoughtful, civic-minded, compassionate, intelligent people who genuinely care about others and still ardently support Trump, especially given what we’ve seen of his “leadership” thus far. So, yes you are right. If someone’s opinion is that Trump is a great leader, my response IS: you’re wrong. And I’m not going to apologize for that. He fucking sucks. And people who continue to support him are directly responsible for the shit show we find ourselves in.
Kate July 6, 2017, 11:14 am
My mom said that after the election she got a 6-month subscription to the National Review as a way to try to understand where Trump supporters were coming from… but it was really horrifying vitriol.
Meanwhile Trump is being spoon-fed information by neo-Nazis.
Vathena July 6, 2017, 11:21 am
A sandwich and medicine for your sick and starving child? LOLOLOLOLOLOL they are actively trying to ransack the cupboards and medicine cabinets of the sick and starving and cart off the “loot” to give to Wall Street fat cats. I am utterly baffled as to how every Trump voter didn’t know that that was the goal.
JudgeSheryl July 6, 2017, 12:08 pm
I never said you or anyone was horrible. That is actually my entire point, that just because people disagree with you, (even if something is *really important to you*, it doesn’t make them inherently bad people, or that they are more likely to be an a-hole.
The opinion I was trying to sway is that an individual trump voter would be no more likely to be an a-hole than a non-trump voter.
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 12:19 pm
Ok. So what was it that you are 99% sure I won’t sway you on?
JudgeSheryl July 6, 2017, 12:36 pm
Ya know, just the opposite: that an individual trump voter is more likely to be an a-hole than a non-trump voter.
Which seemed like your advice to LW1, correct?
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 12:49 pm
Not necessarily a Trump voter, but an ardent Trump supporter — you know, someone who would proudly wave a Trump flag, have a Trump bumper sticker, or a sign in his or her yard. I think that, yes, if someone publicly identifies as a Trump supporter, that’s a clue that can be taken in context with other clues about his or her level of assholery. I’d also say that someone who flies a confederate flag (or has a confederate flag decal on his pick-up truck) is also giving clue about his level of assholery. To me, a Trump flag and a confederate flag have similar connotations.
mandalee July 6, 2017, 6:40 pm
Very late to this discussion, but as someone who grew up and spent 22 years in a very isolated, very bigoted, very openly racist town in middle America (my town was famous for the ACLU successfully beating it in court by trying to enact an official language as English and other very-culturally targeted legislation)- I am absolutely sick of hearing things like “liberal bubble” to give credence that somehow there is a mythical majority of harden Trump supporters that are somehow “just down in their heart good people” but we are somehow on the left radicalized by “THE MEDIA”.
I may live in a very blue state now (Massachusetts) but my family and my entire childhood was spent with people who were racist, homophobic, and sexist who became hardcore Trump supporters. My own father told me that “I am siding with evil and he hopes my future children get killed by an *insert awful slang term for Muslims here” when he found out I went out to support refugees at a very peaceful protest. My husband’s entire family would stalk my Facebook feed to degrade anything in support of gay rights, women’s rights or anything regarding Obama (slurs for gay people, black people, and “sluts” were used regularly). I have friends, family members and acquaintances (165 Facebook friends at last count) that I had to delete off of social media because their support of Trump was clearly a rallying cry to now finally be out in the open to everyone that they were pretty terrible.
Now, are all supporters any one thing or person exactly the same? A loud, resounding NO. But my God, I can not even comprehend a train of thought where I am supposed to show compassion for the type of people who essentially take glee in radicalized hate and misinformation and are criticized accordingly. Hilary Clinton was a career politician who was accurately critiqued for being overly ambitious, overly prepared, and maybe myopic in her pursuit to be president. But worse than Trump? Definitely not.
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 6:48 pm
Well, that’s just not very tolerant of you, Mandalee, tsk-tsk.
Kategreen July 7, 2017, 12:07 pm
Yeah, it’s pretty much worse than you think it will be. There’s something about seeing it in print, and something about the types of issues those sites choose to cover on a regular basis, and the angles they take on fundamentally non-partisan issues, that is incredibly disturbing. But still important, I think, to see for yourself the kinds of sites that many republicans use as actual news sources. Just do yourself a favor and don’t even look at the comments section on those sites. The articles are bad enough, and I don’t think the vast majority of regular people are actually commenting anyway – so the comments are irrelevant and definitely not worth the additional stress.
anonymousse July 6, 2017, 10:35 am
You voted for Trump, regardless of his misogyny, his racism, his hatred for the poor, the disabled…
That’s great. I’m glad you feel proud of that.
ele4phant July 6, 2017, 3:26 pm
Kallie I appreciate your response. It seems like you tried very hard to write something clearly, comprehensively, and respectfully, knowing virtually no one else would share your perspective.
I cannot wrap my head around your reasoning for supporting Trump. Ever qualm you listed about Clinton could be applied to Trump.
Dishonest? Check. He lies, literally all the time. ALL THE TIME.
Flagrant disregard for security? Um, blabbing classified security information to Russia certainly seems dangerous to me.
Unethical? I’d say his blatant disregard for conflict of interest and installing his unqualified children in his administration is unethical.
Dangerous to national security? Given how little regard the international community gives him and his utter lack of understanding of geopolitical and historical facts, I definitely think we’re sitting on a powder keg ready to blow happen.
On top of that, he strikes me as dangerously thin-skinned and volatile. Also, while he may be amazing at branding and marketing, he doesn’t seem to have an interest in substance or policy. Hillary was at least competent. Trump has no clue what he is doing or what the job requires, and has no interest in learning. Its all perception perception perception for him. There’s nothing else that matters.
And at the very least, he could surround himself with competent people, but he’s so transactional and has such a weird hard on for loyalty he’s only handing out jobs to people who give him favors and who blow smoke up his a*$.
Not people who could actually, you know, help him succeed.
And then yeah, the sexism, racism, and Islamophobia are the rotting cherry on top.
The man should not be President.
MissDre July 6, 2017, 3:38 pm
angelsiris11 July 7, 2017, 1:04 pm
Thank you mandalee! I appreciate when people acknowledge how hateful many people really are.
Vathena July 6, 2017, 11:17 am
…”because [Trump] and [his] flagrant, in your face lies, deceptions and criminal activity scare[s] the [email protected]# out of me. And I [am] appalled at how [his base] continue[s] to smile with that blind idolization as [his] behavior bec[omes] worse and worse. [He] divide[s] the country with [his] ‘us versus the [immigrants/Muslims/LGBTQ people/people of color/women/urban liberals]’. Nope. Us [immigrants/Muslims/LGBTQ people/people of color/women/urban liberals] are a part of this county too. We ALL should have a voice. Our county was built on ALL having a voice. Not just one group. That’s called a dictatorship. Our founding fathers created two political groups (ed. note: not exactly accurate, but whatever) so that we would balance each other. So that no one group could gain control and use that power over the other, causing them to be less than. To be minimized and to eventually be diminished into a voiceless group. That’s what [he] offer[s]. Frightening.”
Fixed it for ya….
Miss MJ July 6, 2017, 11:42 am
I’ve found this entire thread to be very interesting.
I live in a red state and know Trump voters. Some are, frankly, unabashedly ignorant and awful and Trump is their excuse to express it freely. But, others are generally nice people who care about animals, love their mammas and don’t shit on people’s lawns. That said, even the generally nice folks have this mental block where they feel threatened by those that are not like them and Trump exploited the hell out of it for his own gain.
We all know what Trump voters mean when they say they voted for him because he wants to “restore America’s greatness.” At the core, they mean a place where straight, white Christian folks were the only voice heard and women knew their place (i.e. “Us”). Not a place where gays, minorities, women and those of other religions (i.e. “Them”) have an equal voice. Thus, tolerating “Them” = discriminating against “Us” because if Us had all the power and now Them have some, since in their minds it’s all a zero-sum game, then Us must have lost something.
No matter how nicely it’s couched, at the end of the day, trying to discuss anything with Trump supporters is fundamentally an argument in trying to convince someone why they should not feel threatened by/care about people who are different than them. This dichotomy has always been there, but in the past, both GOP and Dem candidates have never so blatantly hounded on the Us vs. Them theme (though the GOP primed its base with the dog whistles Trump would later exploit) because they actually put America, not themselves first.
I get that Trump supporters feel attacked when people say that they’re not tolerant. Of course they do, they just want what they perceive to be an “equal voice” without maybe realizing that by “equal” they mean “dominant” or even understanding that even if the entire US were overtaken by gays, minorities and Muslims (oh, my), nothing bad would happen to them. They’d still get up, go to church (or not), have their guns, eat ice cream and do literally everything that most of them do now, since most of them aren’t going around spewing violence and hate everywhere anyway.
Unfortunately, they are surrounded by an insidious conservative echo chamber telling them that everyone is out to get them and they actually do have a much higher fear of crime and violence than is even remotely warranted and believe the country is worse off economically than it is (as a whole, not generally), think immigration has skyrocketed (it’s gone down) and believe a whole host of verifiably untrue things simply because as fundamentally “good” or “honest” people, they cannot believe that Fox News, conservative radio and the GOP are actively blatantly lying to them.
At the end of the day, while we may all want the same things for ourselves (safety, economic stability, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and all that jazz) I don’t think we do share values anymore. The country’s been increasingly polarized for decades. Trump and the conservative media have effectively split us in two. Trump (again as distinct in many ways from the GOP in general) voters value their theoretical “tribe” of whiteness, straightness, Christianity, patriarchy over anything else. That’s the America they value. It’s not what America is, in my opinion, but I’ve about given up trying to ever convince them of that.
I have no idea where we all go from here because at the end of the day, we’re all on the USS America together and the captain is heading right toward the largest iceberg around while the first mate covers his eyes and the crew all sits around hoping that everything is fine. It’s not fine. 26 Million people – many of them Trump voters – are about to lose healthcare and people will die. Trump’s courting war with North Korea and alienated every ally we have so that no one is going to stick their neck out for us. The jobs aren’t coming and sooner or later the economy is going to crater just like it always does when the GOP is in control. And the climate will still change, Europe and South America are strengthening their relationships with other countries, scientists and innovators will flee to places where they are welcome and by the time it’s all said and done it’ll take decades to repair all the damage “Making America Great Again” has done to our reputation.
Dear Wendy July 6, 2017, 11:51 am
Thank you for more eloquently expressing what I’ve been struggling to say. This is exactly how I see it, and it’s so depressing and scary.
RedroverRedrover July 6, 2017, 12:08 pm
I’ve seen this floating around the web, and I think it sums up pretty well what you’re getting at, Vathena:
” Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority”
and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”
and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.”
This is what’s happening, I believe. People who are used to being treated with a certain level of authority due to solely their colour or their gender or their religion or whatever, are now having that taken away from them, and they are seeing that as disrespect and as a form of attack.
One note, too, is that you say they think it’s a zero-sum game. I agree with them on that, I think it actually is. And that’s the problem. If it wasn’t zero-sum, they wouldn’t see much difference. However, it’s like the plates on a scale. If one is up and one is down and you want to make them balance, you have to either put weight on one, take weight away from the other, or a bit of both. But whichever way you do it, the end effect is that the plate that was higher before is no longer higher. So even if you don’t take any rights away from the people who are more privileged, by giving equal rights to someone else, you have removed that privilege from those people. They have materially lost something. And they don’t want to. I think that’s what’s actually causing the huge backlash against feminism that seems to be happening now. Some men are realizing what they’re losing, and they don’t want to lose it, so they’re fighting against women being equal. And there are some who are even saying that women are now MORE privileged than men. That’s how invisible their privilege is to them.
ktfran July 6, 2017, 12:10 pm
Wow. If I could like this a million times, I would. Basically what Wendy said to this post.
Miss MJ July 6, 2017, 12:46 pm
“One note, too, is that you say they think it’s a zero-sum game. I agree with them on that, I think it actually is. And that’s the problem. If it wasn’t zero-sum, they wouldn’t see much difference. However, it’s like the plates on a scale. If one is up and one is down and you want to make them balance, you have to either put weight on one, take weight away from the other, or a bit of both. But whichever way you do it, the end effect is that the plate that was higher before is no longer higher. So even if you don’t take any rights away from the people who are more privileged, by giving equal rights to someone else, you have removed that privilege from those people. They have materially lost something. And they don’t want to.”
This is a really good point. And I think it ties into another issue, which is that many rural white Americans are educationally falling behind, if not lost altogether, and therefore are economically behind, which is basically the” un-college educated WWC class are looking for change” angle. Because, although Trump’s actual policies are for the most part GOP policies on steroids, they aren’t the policies Trump ran on. He ran on giving white people back the voice they think they lost and blaming it on everyone else. Basically, giving handouts to the WWC – coal jobs, auto jobs, the best health care EVER, protecting SS and Medicaid and Medicare, getting rid of minorities who are taking their jobs, dumping the rich assholes and elites who’ve kept them down, etc.
The truth is, though, if you’re a smart, educated and hardworking white guy, you’re going to get ahead no matter how many smart, educated and hardworking women and minorities also get ahead. They’re not a threat to you. But, if you’re a mediocre-qualified white guy, you’re probably going to get passed over by better qualified women and minority candidates, just like you’d get passed over in favor of better qualified white male candidates. And, because of the way that misogyny and racism impact women and people of color, that mediocre qualified white dude is likely competing with more women and persons of color than highly qualified white guys. So, that’s their “proof” that they’re losing out to women and minorities. And, maybe they are, but it’s because of their own failure to launch (so to speak) as opposed to the fact that women and minorities got a freebie.
And, I don’t know what to do about that, either. The simple truth is that there aren’t that many jobs for men without a college or tech degree and who think that doing “pink” jobs are beneath them. And the truth is that women don’t want to marry guys without good job prospects, which leaves them unemployed or lowly employed and alone. Nothing Trump is doing will change that and I’m honestly not sure what could. Even if states encourage good companies to come and invest to create good jobs, without training, there still won’t be jobs for these guys – but there will be for the educated women and minorities. I think solving this problem will be the key to “reuniting” the country, so to speak, but I’ll be damned if I really know how.
But, no matter how many rallies Trump holds, the world has gone and passed by the guy (or gal, for that matter) who wants to graduate (or not graduate) from high school, not get additional education and live in his rural hometown forever and expect to have a lifelong, good paying job.
RedroverRedrover July 6, 2017, 1:54 pm
Totally agree. And that’s why when you start using words like “privilege”, they go crazy. I only use that word here, where people understand what’s meant by it. Use it on some random site, and you’ll get completely attacked. Because they think “my life is crap, my opportunities are closing up, I can’t have what my parents have, and this bitch is here calling ME privileged?!?!”. And it doesn’t help that the people using that word are generally educated and fairly well-off, so of course the people calling them privileged appear more privileged than they are. And they are, class-wise.
But what is very poorly understood out there, is that privilege has to be considered on like-for-like situations. Sure, as a woman with degree and a well-paying job, I’m definitely more privileged in general than a male highschool dropout. But lets compare the female highschool dropout to the male one. What are her options compared to his? And let’s compare the males who hold engineering degrees to me… I can tell you they didn’t face the “extra” hurdles I did when looking for a job. I didn’t even end up in my field due to sexism.
So these guys are comparing themselves to women and minorities who have had more opportunity than them due to class, and attributing that opportunity to I guess affirmative action and similar policies. Instead of considering the women and minorities in the *exact same situation* as them, and seeing what life’s like for them (generally, worse). I don’t know how to make them do the apples to apples comparison. I don’t think they’re really interested in doing so. I just try to talk reasonably in hopes that they’ll see why their anger is misplaced. Who knows if it does anything though.
anonymousse July 6, 2017, 12:49 pm
angelsiris11 July 7, 2017, 1:09 pm
I love all of this! Thank you everyone for being so eloquent. To me this is summed up best in the phrase I have seen to describe why these people are so angry:
“when you are used to privilege, to you equality feels like oppression.”
Ron July 6, 2017, 12:02 pm
The simple truth is that being a Republican is a fairly tribal thing and almost all Republicans will vote for the R candidate for president, whomever that person may be. To measure Trump’s core base within the R party, you have to look at how he did in the primaries, when the field was still somewhat full. For a long time his level of support was around 30% and as the field narrowed, it rose to 40%. As it narrowed further, he was in the majority. But really, it looks like only about 1/3 of Rs had him as their first choice.
The R party is centered in the South and the bible belt. The party as a whole, since the days of Roe v Wade, desegregation, and Nixon’s Southern strategy has sold racism, sexism, and homophobia. Reagan and the Bushes, even Nixon weren’t as in-your-face obnoxious as President Trump, but how different were the policies? The Rs are the party of the Southern evangelicals and their Midwestern cousins, of the religiously conservative portion of Catholicism, and of the Mormons. All of these are religions which place men above women.
What made 2016 different form 2008 and 2012 was that the economic anger that was focused on the GWB administration, turned on banker-boosting HRC after 8 years of a D in the WH and HRC wasn’t able to inspire about 5% of the Obama coalition to come to the polls and support her. She was a bad candidate. She made a very big deal this time (quite different from 2008) of being the female candidate — the glass ceiling breaker. She didn’t come close to getting the votes of half of white women who voted. She chose the constituency she was going to talk to and she failed to carry it. She was a status quo (by conscious choice and repetition) candidate in an election in which the voters wanted anything but.
There certainly was some ethnocentrism aimed against Hispanics and Muslims involved along with some good old fashioned sexism.
RedroverRedrover July 6, 2017, 12:11 pm
The thing I can’t get away from, is you have to have some level of acceptance of the racism, sexism, and other bigotry he spouts in order to vote for him. Like look at Kallie up there – not thrilled with it, but will accept it to get other things that he/she wants. It’s just not a priority to treat people equally. And for me, that’s a huge issue. That’s a massive moral failing in a person. It’s not something I can get past, when I look at someone and see that they were able to trade that off. Even worse when they traded it for something that they were clearly not going to get.
anonymousse July 6, 2017, 12:46 pm
Ron July 6, 2017, 1:00 pm
I could say that’s what makes you not a Republican, but I know you’re Canadian. Nixon’s Southern strategy was explicitly racist: a wooing of the old South in response to LBJ’s civil rights legislation. After that, most of the quite explicitly racist Southern Democrats in the House and Senate slowly became racist Republican congressmen, although by and large less racist than the old Dixiecrats. Since then, the guts of the R party have been the old states of the Confederacy and border states, plus the Mormon west and evangelical Protestants in the Midwest. The evangelical Protestant movement is centered in the South. It became politically energized after the federal government denied tax deducability for contributions to the racist academies they established to replace the previously segregated schools.
What I’m trying to say is that the R party changed drastically post-Nixon and changed even more with the RINO-hunting of the New England and Middle Atlantic centrist R members of Congress. Racism and misogyny are cooked into the DNA of the new GOP, just as FDR had to play to the wishes of the Dixiecrats to maintain his progressive coalition.
None of this began with Trump. He used more explicit language in place of the deniable dog whistles to race, which everyone knew were dog whistles to racists.
As a D, who held my nose and voted for HRC, I am appalled by the current administration, but frankly, apart from the say any insult which pops into your head about any ‘other’ group member, I am not yet at the point of finding this administration as appalling as I did the Dick Cheney-led GWB administration, which gave us a costly and stupid war and tried very hard to gut social security. I may get to that point soon. Ford was good and I liked GHWB, but Nixon was every bit as bad as the present administration and Reagan did a lot of harm, although he was far more consistent and somewhat pragmatic.
dinoceros July 6, 2017, 7:02 pm
I think it’s weird how paranoid and cautious this country is, yet it’s apparently the most horrific thing ever for a person to be apprehensive about how a stranger they live near (who is disruptive) might respond to being told they are bothersome. I mean, people are afraid to honk their horn at another person in a car, for fear that the person will pull out a gun and shoot them, but somehow in this case, it would make the LW a horrible person to wonder if their neighbor might get pissy.
Very odd hypocrisy.
baccalieu August 1, 2017, 6:26 pm
I’m sorry I came late to this thread, because I do find it very interesting. I think it’s an interesting debate about how you should treat people with political views that you believe are actively harmful -i.e. should you socialize with them and include them.
I, like most (but not all) liberals who have grown up and lived in a fairly conservative environment, am fairly comfortable with doing this. (In many cases the people holding abhorrent views were family.) To my mind it is simply a matter of necessity, and good policy for peaceful relations. Most of the people who advocate a scorched earth policy (neither truck nor trade with people who support policies they believe are hateful) have the luxury living primarily among people who share their views. Even if their city has lots of their opponents, they primarily associate with people of like mind. If your views are in a minority, you are more willing to be flexible.
I certainly understand the argument that it is immoral to associate with people who support these awful things. I even acknowledge the logic of it, but essentially in this case, unlike most, logic doesn’t matter. In “Far from the Madding Crowd”, Thomas Hardy tells how the shepherd Gabriel Oake was ruined when a new sheepdog he was training refused to stop and drove all his sheep off a cliff. Hardy comments, “The dog was shot the next morning, as often happens to dogs and other philosophers who insist on taking things to their logical conclusion in this world of compromise.” I love that aside, which rather explains the way I feel about dealing with people who hold views that I abhor.
Associating with people notwithstanding their views is often necessary and in any event is good policy for a peaceful society. For example, after World War II, Americans (and Canadian and other Alllied) soldiers in West Germany had to work together with people who fought for and helped maintain one of the most awful regimes in history that they had to defeat at great cost. Many of those had worked for the regime reluctantly, but many didn’t and many more didn’t think about it that hard. It wouldn’t have been useful or practical to try and distinguish between them.
I also think it helps create a more tolerant and moderate one too. The fact that people were willing to continue to deal with people that supported the Nazis probably helped make Germany democratic and reasonably liberal today. I would suggest that the USA today has become so polarized precisely because people don’t interact in a friendly way with those who think differently. It doesn’t make logical sense but I think it is the best thing to do.